Council to consult on late night economy

8 Aug 2013 @ 12.01 am
| News

Issued by City of York Council

City of York Council is about to consult widely on views about the city’s late night economy and ways in which it can work with the community and businesses to improve its contribution to the wider city economy.

Within this consultation, the council will be seeking views on a new charge that the Government is permitting local authorities to make on premises licensed to sell alcohol after midnight.

York’s vibrant night-time economy is enjoyed by some 14,000 people between 6pm and 5am each week, with the bulk of activity in the city centre occurring on Friday and Saturday nights. However, there is evidence that whilst this activity brings considerable economic activity to the city centre, there are issues that have been raised by residents and the business community that the city is not maximising its potential.

In particular, issues raised include a need for more diverse offers in the city centre in the evenings, such as better provision for families and young professionals, plus concern over incidents of anti-social behaviour and irresponsible drinking which could put off people returning to the city for a night out.

One of the ideas on which the consultation will seek views is the introduction of a late night levy, which could help mitigate additional costs for the council, police and other agencies dealing with crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour and hospital admissions.

Government legislation has given local authorities the option of introducing a charge for selling alcohol after midnight. It would be charged to premises which choose to implement licenses to serve alcohol between midnight and 5am.

The fees will be pegged to the rateable value of the premises, levels will be set nationally and it could cost businesses from £5.75 to £85 a week.

Rateable value bands (based on the existing fee bands) Annual levy charge Annual levy charge
A – no rateable value to £4,300£299£5.75
B - £4,301 to £33,000£768£14.77
C - £33,001 to £87,000£1,259£24.21
D - £87,001 to £125,000£1,365£26.25
E - £ 125,001 and above£1,493£28.71
D x 2 – multiplier applies to premises in category D that primarily or exclusively sell alcohol£2,730£52.50
E x 3 – multiplier applies to premises in category E that primarily or exclusively sell alcohol£4,440£85.38

The provision for raising the levy follows from the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. In the legislation, the Government stipulates that the levy can’t be limited to just one part of a city and any money the council receives from it must be used solely to deal with issues arising from the late night economy, such as anti-social behaviour or street cleaning.

Besides licensed businesses, residents across the city and the travel trade are among those whose views will be sought through a consultation to determine whether and how the council might introduce the late night levy.

The consultation also seeks ideas for other ways to improve the experience of York in the evening, which the council will consider in a bid to improve the performance of the late night economy. A number of focus groups will also be run to bring forward new ideas.

Councillor Linsay Cunningham-Cross, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities, said: “We are working hard with our partners to tackle the problems of antisocial behaviour related to alcohol.

“It’s important we all work together to ensure York continues to be a safe and pleasant place to live and to visit. The late night levy is just one of a number of initiatives that we are considering as part of this city-wide approach.

“This consultation process is a great opportunity to feed in ideas on how we can work together to ensure York’s night time economy continues to flourish, which is why we want this consultation to be answered by as many people as possible.”

The consultation will run from 8 August until 31 October 2013 at the Survey Monkey website. A decision on whether to introduce the levy will be made in December.


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